The Ministry of Transport has announced that as from Friday 23rd September there have been amendments to existing regulations, that effectively increase the financial penalty affixed to various fixed penalty notices.
The amendments follow on from representations from the Commissioner of Police where penalties had become insignificant as they had not been increased with the rate of inflation and as a result had lost their value as a deterrent to offenders.
The increases are as follows:
1. Parking and Waiting offences have been doubled from their previous amount while continuing with the 50% discount if paid within 14 days from the date of issue.
2. Road Traffic offences have been increased from £100 to £300. The 50% reduction does not apply to these notices.
Information provided by the Commissioner of Police, demonstrated that in the previous policing year, detection figures for the offence of Excessive Speed alone were well above 900 persons having been reported for the offence. The Commissioner expressed his view that the current penalties were not proving a suitable deterrent to discourage drivers from committing offences and highlighted the negative impact this can have to levels of road safety generally.
In addition to these increases, the definition of ‘Use’ as contained in the Prohibition of Use of Mobile Telephones while Driving Regulations have also been reviewed and updated to include latest trends in how these mobile devices are used for and to mitigate the persistent use of mobile telephones whilst driving.
These changes now include:
a) illuminating the screen;
b) checking the time;
c) checking notifications;
d) unlocking the device;
e) making, receiving or rejecting a telephone or internet based call;
f) sending, receiving or uploading oral or written content;
g) sending, receiving or uploading a photo or video;
h) utilising camera, video or sound recording functionality;
i) drafting any text;
j) accessing any stored data such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, notes or messages;
k) accessing an application;
l) accessing the internet.
Commissioner of Police, Mr Richard Ullger said, “The RGP pressed for changes to the scale of fines because we felt that the old fines were not being effective as a deterrent. For example, all parking fines were £50 - a sum that could then be reduced to £25 if it was paid promptly. For many people, the possibility of being fined £25 did not stop them from parking irresponsibly.”
The Minister for Transport, the Hon Paul Balban, said:
"These changes are just a small part of the various road safety strategies which will be introduced in the coming months aimed at reducing offending and in particular, the possibility of road traffic collisions with the dangerous consequences these create. We soon also expect to publish the law for a points system to further bolster the tools available to law enforcement in promoting respect for our traffic laws.”